Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has for the umpteenth time explained why the Federal Government took the decision to concession some of the country’s airports, saying despite the huge potential abound, that the airports are currently operating at a sub-optimal level.
The airports set aside for concession are; Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano and Enugu.
According to the minister, the Federal Government is proposing between 20 and 30 years programme for the would-be concessionaire even as he declared that infrastructure concessions of this nature come with a significant financial obligation which any responsible concessionaire will no doubt be keen to recoup.
Under the concession policy, the Federal Government gave a condition that the 20 to 30 years duration may be extended depending on performance and Nigeria’s best interest and that the duration was not set in stone and will be subject to negotiation and then final approval by the Federal Executive Council.
The minister who spoke through the Director of Media, Ministry of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu, explained that u see the concession policy that the Federal Government was starting with the most strategic assets saying the successful delivery of the concession programme would give all stakeholders the confidence required to consider other possibilities in the sector.
The concession Sirika declared applied to the non-aeronautic assets of the airports located in the Passenger and Cargo terminals, stressing that they are thus comprised of the assets from the entry door of the airport to the point of embarking plane, and from deplaning to the exit doors.
This space commonly referred to as the Passenger terminal comprised of retail spaces, waiting and seating areas, airport and airline lounges, baggage collection, check-in counters as well as administrative offices, while the Cargo terminals are comprised of the facilities between the point of entry and up to loading and off-loading points, including administrative offices within said facilities.
The Minister put to rest the argument that the airports were planned to be sold, saying: “There shall be no change in the ownership structure of the airports involved in this programme. What has been mandated by the Federal Executive Council is a concession programme.
“The decision of the government to settle for concession rather than outright selling of the assets is because of tremendous national importance from an economic and security perspective; adding, “We believe it remains in Nigeria’s best interest to maintain ownership for this reason.
“A concession is governed by a concession agreement whereby two parties – a private sector investor and a Public sector owner of an asset enter into an agreement that gives the Private sector investor the right to operate said asset for a specific business and within the Government’s jurisdiction, subject to certain terms that are agreed upon by both parties during the negotiation and contracting phase. It is thus a form of Public-Private Partnership whereby there is no transfer of equity between the contracting parties.”